John’s Note: This week we’re learning secret tactics used by trophy deer hunters before they set foot in the woods – to locate the terrain and cover that holds the basket-racked bucks. You can find the buck you want this season or at least learn where he should be while studying on your kitchen table this summer. Many hunters spend too much time walking around in the woods and not enough time learning how to hunt their areas and identifying where bucks move. An aerial photo and a topographic map can show you where deer are most likely to appear, how to increase your hunting time and how to decrease your scouting time.
Memory fades each year. However, if you record on your map and GPS the date and place where you take each buck, the chances of returning to that spot on or about that same day next year and bagging another buck are very good. Deer are creatures of habit and have a pecking order. These two factors mean that certain things happen every year in a deer herd in about the same place at about the same time. If you’re hunting over a food site such as an acorn tree, more than likely that tree will drop its nuts at about the same time each year. Usually deer in a region will come to that same tree year after year. Therefore, a nut tree, a green field or any other type of food source where you have bagged a buck may produce a buck in coming years, if you can remember the exact spot. By marking that site on your map and recording the date, you won’t have to rely on memory.
If you find a scrape line and take a buck along that scrape line, you may be able to hunt that same scraping site year after year. Often, more than one buck will walk the same scrape line. When the dominant buck, the animal that’s made the scrape, is harvested, the next buck in the pecking order will become the dominant buck and probably use the same scrapes in the same places as his predecessor. By marking those scrape lines on the map and noting the date you take a buck at those scrape lines, you have a quick and easy reference to locate those scrape lines the next year and return to that same region at about the same time of year.
To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” (John’s latest book), “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” and “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here.